As a housing crisis grips Ireland’s capital, The new UCD accommodation in the newly-opened UCD Village can cost students upwards of €14,000 a school year, with renters in “Studio”, “Gold”, “Platinum”, and “Penthouse” spaces paying the most.
Students staying in Roebuck Castle take the top overall spot, dropping €1,323.97 a month for a room in Belfield’s only catered accommodation bloc. When food costs are excluded, the most expensive per-head accommodation on campus are the Penthouse apartments in the new UCD Village. License and utilities together cost residents of that class upwards of €1,300.10 a month. However, the most expensive overall option is the Village Studio, which if booked by an individual student (rather than two sharing), costs approximately €14,000 a school year.
Students searching for the most affordable UCD accommodation have to look beyond Belfield and instead to Blackrock Halls, whose residents pay €754.26 a month to stay in the older buildings on the Smurfit Graduate Business School campus. Included in the total price of all apartments is the booking and security deposit, which is equal to a month’s license fee and can be returned to the student at the end of the year. Also included are ResLife programmes, which include social events and trips for those staying in UCD residences.
Including Roebuck Castle, student accommodation at UCD costs an average of €1,055.48, which was an increase on €930.89 last year. According to the Rental Tenancies Board, the average rent for a private two-bedroom apartment in Dublin in Q1 2021 was €1,857. The average rent for a private two-bedroom house was €1,753.
There are slight variations in price depending on student status. Single-trimester internationals pay the most per month in license fees, with some spending upwards of €280 more than first-year and continuing UCD students. Furthermore, permanent UCD students pay approximately €7 less per month than single-semester internationals in utility fees. Three-trimester graduate students, whose options are limited to Belgrove, Glenomena, and Proby Residences, pay a few hundred euro less per month than two-trimester undergraduates, but for longer tenancy periods. Residential Assistants (RAs) who work for UCD part-time are given spaces at a reduced price.
Previously, a spokeswoman for UCD said that the University would review the level of rent increases after three years, and would “reduce the increases or even freeze them if financially possible”.
When asked for comment, UCDSU Welfare Officer Molly Greenough said:
“While low and middle-income students are being priced out of Higher Education across the island, I’d argue UCD is leading the charge. Over the course of the summer, I’ve chatted with countless concerned students, and their families, who were stressing about how they’d possibly afford these outlandish accommodation prices. Students can’t afford accommodation on their own campus and are forced to flee into the precarity of the private rental sector. So, it’s often a lose/lose situation: get price gouged by your own university or price gouged by cowboy landlords. The precarity of the private rental sector is an entire issue in itself, but UCD has control over the prices it sets, the types of accommodation it builds, and the message it sends to students. At the moment, I think the message is crystal clear: if you aren’t an affluent student, perhaps UCD isn’t the place for you.”
UCDSU President Ruairi Power added:
“Blocks of “affordable” accommodation built decades ago like Belgrove has become consistently more expensive in order to finance mortgage repayments on the most expensive luxury accommodation on campus. Students from low and middle-income backgrounds are essentially subsidising the construction of luxury builds for the wealthiest students.
This is a deliberately discriminatory policy that significantly undermines the work undergone by UCD ALL to widen participation for under-represented groups. UCD management can’t be trusted on this, we need the Government to ringfence all housing finance agency funding for campus accommodation specifically for affordable design blocks, not discriminatory vanity projects. UCD shouldn’t get an additional cent from the public to implement an inadequate housing strategy.”
Jack McGee – Head of Investigations